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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Approachable astronomy books

The Guardian has published another interesting Top 10 reading list, Stuart Clark's top 10 approachable astronomy books. I'm delighted to see the second and third books on the list, Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel, author of Longitude, and The Book Nobody Read : chasing the revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicusby Owen Gingerich.

I found both books thoroughly engaging through their approaches to their subjects: Galileo's story through his relationship with his daughter, and Copernicus' through Gingerich's study of the history of his famous book. Besides enjoying such well-written history, I was reminded of the methods we use to construct history--how talented authors turn the evidence of letters, books, etc., into these stories of our past.

As much as the study of astronomy helps us discern our position in the universe, these well-written histories help us discern our position in time. I'm looking forward to reading more of the books on this list.

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